The Grand Emporium Thursday, April 6, 2000

Boot Hill/Velvet Freeze/Amy Farrand & the Gospel Sensat 

The Grand Emporium Thursday, April 6, 2000

There's something intimidating yet oddly inviting about Boot Hill that's hard to put a finger on, and this mysterious quality was on obvious display at its release party for its latest CD, Laudanum. Starting its set in an artificial fog, this cow-punk trio aggressively asserted its opinions with a song that contained four words -- "Fuck you, Johnson County."

The married team of Gary and Allegra Cloud had its chemistry down pat. Gary played his gee-tar fast and loud and hiccuped in all the right places, while Allegra, clad in a dress made partially of the Kansas state flag, occasionally chimed in. To watch the pair is to witness a true "Rock and Roll Love Story," which also happens to be one of the songs they played. Things got a little blue when Gary told Allegra during one song to "ride him like a cowboy and I'll be your little horse." Speaking of little horses, halfway through Boot Hill's final number, the band took a break to chow down on some wieners before finishing things up.

"My name's Amy, and these are the Gospel Sensations. We're going to play a painfully short set. We'd like to dedicate it to Jim Strahm, and if you're the praying type, during your nighty-nights, you might want to slip him in," said Amy Farrand, opening up the show. Farrand, the multitalented musician who wielded a guitar on this night and plays drums for the Klammy-winning punk quartet Sister Mary Rotten Crotch, and her band did Strahm proud with their set, although she dubbed it a "self-indulgent night," noting that all the songs were works in progress and that the group had practiced together only about five times. Riff-heavy and dirty, Amy Farrand and the Gospel Sensations will be something to behold, unless practicing more regularly in the future strips the band of its spontaneity. This spur-of-the-moment attitude was on display when Farrand made a sudden adjustment to the set list. "I threw this in just because every time I play guitar and sing, people want me to play it," Farrand said, preceding a cover of "Folsom Prison Blues" that was downright funky while maintaining the menacing tone of Johnny Cash's original recording.

Sadly, Velvet Freeze, the middle act, couldn't measure up to the gold standard these two bands set, which was an admittedly hard task. The three-piece tried admirably, with its guitarist shaking his head vigorously and singing the funky rock. However, the band couldn't muster enough personality to make an impression on a night that was full of strong ones.

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